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Iran to attend Afghanistan talks: spokesman
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08:34, March 13, 2009

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Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said Iran would attend an upcoming conference on Afghanistan, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Thursday.

"Afghanistan and Iran share a long border, so Afghan security and development is naturally an important priority of ours," Qashqavi was quoted as saying.

"Iranian officials have played a constructive role in international summits on Afghanistan that were previously held in Tokyo and Bonn," he said.

On Monday, visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who participated in the ministerial meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tehran, told Fars news agency that "We are much eager to see a more active role of Iran in regional policies."

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited Iran to attend a conference on Afghanistan on March 31.

However, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatallah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that his country saw no sign of U.S. compensation for its mistakes.

The United States severed its ties with Iran in 1980. Since then, Washington has been trying to beef up its sanctions against Tehran for being involved in anti-U.S. activities and for allegedly developing nuclear weapons secretly.

Iran has denied the charges and insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.


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